The opportunist: The political life of Oswald Pirow, 1915-1959

  • David Katz Stellenbosch University


Finding a mainstream South African publisher for an academic work on SouthAfrican history is a daunting prospect for an author. Doing so when it involves a nichetopic on an obscure personality in a forgotten period of South African history can beeven more disheartening. Praise for Protea Book House, who backing Mouton, haveprovided a mainstream publishing vehicle to bring a fascinating period of our historyback into the public domain. Works such as The opportunist: The political Life ofOswald Pirow, 1915–1959 might otherwise have remained inaccessible to the generalpublic, either residing in the rarefied atmosphere of academia or gathering dust on ashelf in a university library as an academic print. The hard truth is that well-researched,peer-reviewed and skilfully written works of history do not necessarily translate intobestsellers, and in most cases, the opposite is true. Publishers with a keen eye on theirbottom-line have a set of criteria designed to maximise profit, which often clashes withthe lofty standards demanded by academia. For that reason, it is always welcome whena work such as this book by Mouton manages to bridge the academic–popularist divide.
How to Cite
Katz, D. (2021). The opportunist: The political life of Oswald Pirow, 1915-1959. Scientia Militaria - South African Journal of Military Studies, 49(1), 123-126.
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